On this date in 1878, Bulgaria finally escaped 500 years of Ottoman oppression as a result of the Russo-Turkish war, a one-sided affair that also secured formal independence for Romania, Serbia and Montenegro.
But there was a downside to these otherwise desirable results:
As the “sick man of Europe” fell apart, nobody could find a way to stop the disintegration even though nobody knew what to do with the pieces except fight over them.
In the end the vacuum created by the Ottoman implosion drew the great powers into the collision that triggered World War I.
It’s a sobering lesson about the dangers of instability even when something bad falls apart.